Other than starting school as a young child, the biggest transition in your son’s education can be moving from primary to secondary school. The anticipation of going back to school is heightened as boys face an unfamiliar campus, new mode of learning, increased levels of responsibility and possibly independent travel.
The change can be daunting, so here are nine tips to help your son transition to Year 7:
1. Preparation is key
Ensure you and your son attend any orientation events that are offered. This will allow your son to familiarise himself with the school grounds, and meet other boys in his year, alleviating some of the fear of the unknown.
If you are aware that your child has extra academic needs, for example relating to dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD, notify the school and provide them with the necessary plans and reports.
2. Shopping for school supplies
Shopping for what is required is the first tangible step to preparing for Year 7. Involving your son in the process will help build excitement for the year ahead.
3. Discuss expectations
Show that you feel positive about your son’s school and ‘talk it up’. Speak with him about the new responsibilities he may need to take on at school. Make sure he is aware that he will have to move between classrooms, have several teachers and will be responsible for his own homework. Remind your son that he will need to organise his bag, have the right books ready and know which ones he will need to take home for homework each night.
4. Listen to his fears
Your son might be harbouring fears that he worries will seem trivial to others. Things he may be concerned about could include getting lost, not making friends, not remembering where he needs to be and getting to and from school. Encourage your son to let you know about any little thing that is bothering him, and don’t dismiss any of his concerns. Instead talk with him about how he can manage any of the situations he raises with you.
5. Making new friends
Discuss how to make new friends, like showing interest in other children, reciprocal conversational skills, smiling, making eye contact and being a good friend. Be encouraging if your son wants to invite friends home and encourage him to join lunchtime or after-school clubs as they can be a great way to make friends.
6. Have a trial run of the route
If your son is walking, cycling or catching public transport to school, go with them for a few trial runs before the school year commences. Talk through what he should do if he misses a school bus home, and have a strategy in place, especially if you are working and can't pick him up straight away.
7. Contingency planning
Make sure your son has emergency money and credit on his mobile phone (if allowed in school) in case he needs to contact you.
8. Set up a homework area at home
Think about any changes you might need to make at home so that your son has the time, space and energy for homework. Try to have a daily set time for homework – either before or after dinner, so there are no excuses for not getting it done. In the early days, check your son’s homework diary daily and if it looks empty, check with other parents or the School.
9. Give it time
It will take your son some time to settle into his new school and routine so it is important that you encourage him and let him know you are available to help and listen whenever he needs you.
There is no doubt that the transition to Year 7 can be challenging for everyone in your family, but a little preparation in advance can make all the difference.
Trinity’s Life Skills Programme is part of a whole School approach to health and wellbeing. In conjunction with the development of ethical, moral and religious values, its goal is to enhance boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent.
To discover how Trinity exposes its students to real life situations and issues through field studies and how it helps boys develop important emotional health skills, download our Year 9 Life Skills Programme.